The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) was set up in 1889 by seagoing engineers in London to form a society representing their shared interests. It has developed to incorporate all areas of engineering relating to the sea - offshore oil & gas, renewables, shipbuilding, coastal engineering, etc. The UAE Branch hosted a knowledge sharing session of the IMarEST for the Middle East maritime fraternity.
Opening the stimulating event, Nikeel Idnani, Honorary Secretary, presented the initial results of a pragmatic survey conducted during the previous IMarEST UAE branch meeting. He explained that the objective was to identify topics of paramount importance to the Middle East's maritime fraternity. Thereafter, these specific topics would be addressed at future meetings, delivering maximum value for the participants.
David Henderson, Professional Development Manager explained the history of the IMarEST and how it has developed to meet with challenges facing the maritime sector. The institute has over 18000 members worldwide, working in a smorgasbord of maritime areas encompassing engineering, science, technology, seagoing officers and in logistics. Supporting specific areas of interest, there are Special Interest Groups that focus on topics like alternative fuels for shipping, e-navigation, offshore oil & gas, responses to marine pollution, etc. David spoke about the online resources e.g IMarEST TV which allows for technical presentations from branch meetings, keynote lectures from events, etc to be watched by people anywhere in the world. He described IMarEST's Discovery Service, eBook Collection & Digital Archive. The Learning Management System is a new members' benefit especially useful for supporting young professionals which will be launched in Autumn 2016. The IMarEST offers free student membership to all those studying academic courses at universities, apprentices within companies or those working towards vocational qualifications within a company structure. Currently, domestic support includes development of a new academic establishment in Oman, while the IMarEST has initiated the process for accrediting courses at Alexandria University in Egypt. David encouraged eligible candidates to sign up by contacting the active UAE branch.
During the enthralling Q&A session, Nikeel informed the 52 industry delegates that the IMarEST is committed to supporting lifelong learning, rewarding those starting out in their careers and those at the cutting edge of new developments in their profession. This prompted Dr. Nasser Mansoori of Abu Dhabi Ports to inform the audience that Abu Dhabi Tanker Company (ADNATCO) and National Gas Shipping Company (NGSCO) Cadetship Program has been very successful and up to end of 2014, when he was in charge of this program, they recruited 40 UAE national high school graduates annually. Since 1994, they have trained in excess of 500 UAE Nationals as maritime professionals in some of the best Maritime Colleges and Universities in the world. As a result of this program, there are more than 140 UAE Seafarers serving on board ADNATCO and NGSCO ships, some of them at senior ranks. He also added that ADNATCO & NGSCO were the first companies in the region who enrolled some of their cadets on an ETO cadetship program. As a result, there are more than 20 UAE National qualified ETO, who are serving in the ADNATCO NGSCO fleet.
Likewise, Sohail Nazir, Fleet Manager of the Qaiwan Group recounted his last voyage as Chief Engineer of a VLCC, when they began recruiting ETO for the increasingly complex electronics/automation systems onboard. These were potential candidates who could benefit directly from the IMarEST knowledge resources as well as access to a global network of members working across the broad spectrum of marine engineering, science and technology.
The broad consensus was that the UAE branch meetings are the rendezvous point for all Middle East maritime stakeholders. These forums attract a plethora of first-rate speakers and global experts to inform, advise and educate, in a relaxed yet professional environment - specifically created to enable delegates to make exceptional new contacts.
Maritime related deliberations continued over finger food & beverages at the upscale Ramada Jumeirah hotel.